From the Fifth Estate: Editor's blog (November 2017)

A somewhat irreverent look at some of the media chatter on the IT industry that has been happening over the last month.

NBN HFC Roll-out Delays

If you haven’t read reams of copy about the latest NBN fiasco, you just haven’t been following the news lately. This kerfuffle has seen calls from the opposition for the Prime Minister to explain what else has been hidden from the people about our broadband infrastructure and claims that the 6-9-month delays will cost as much as $790 million.

As many have feared and almost expected, it would appear as though the whole “quicker, cheaper” magic mushroom strategy is unravelling. Which really makes you wonder why our Department of Defence would spend over $16 million to transition some of its services over to the NBN.

Meanwhile, New Atlas reports that Australia continues to slide down the ranks of its “bang for bucks”, speed versus cost metrics for broadband affordability. We sit well behind Kenya, Thailand, Bulgaria and Moldova and only narrowly ahead of Mexico, Greece and Macedonia.

You know things are really getting tough for NBN Co. when one of the capital city mastheads owned by the coalition’s cheerleader, NewsCorp publishes an editorial stating that NBN promised the world but is failing to deliver

Finally, former PM, Kevin Rudd came out and said what everyone is thinking as he launched his memoir in November by stating that the current NBN fiasco is a direct sabotage job designed to advance the interests of Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV and other digital investments.

Data Analytics

Apart from cyber security and artificial intelligence, there is forecast to be strong growth for technology jobs in data analytics which is to be expected as so many companies gather as much data as they can today as they work out the best way to turn that into competitive advantage tomorrow.

The race for unlocking the science of data analysis has been taken up by many business schools and there is a parallel competitive challenge for technology companies to develop solutions that make the job easier.

The whole concept of data analytics is a web of confusion, so it was good to see an article from the US on Computerworld’s local site recently that did a reasonably good job of playing  Myth Busters over the data analytics maze.

Clearly some companies are doing a better job of gathering data and using it than others - such as Uber. We all love Uber, right? A so-much-better service than traditional taxis, right? But at what cost?

Of course, the problem with a company like Uber hoovering up so much data is that it then becomes the target of cyber-attacks and, if there is a breach, they aren’t going to tell anyone about it until they have to.

Over 57 million people had their data compromised as a result of the Uber breach and they paid hackers $100,000 to cover it up for over a year. Should we be worried? Here is a good summary of the fall-out from that attack. 

However, there is an upside to Uber’s shameful behaviour and the Fin Review wrote a well-thought-out piece about what corporate Australia can learn from the whole incident.

Just because it is vaguely related to data analytics, here is someone taking a punt on where future jobs might be in data analytics and artificial intelligence


Can we trust our smartphones to be secure? Perhaps not. Clearly some phones are better others. Here is one view on which are the four best phones for security.

Apple phones are generally more secure than their Android competition according to this summary of Apple iOS v Android devices.

Privacy is an issue for those who use their smartphones regularly. Unfortunately, a huge proportion of Android apps are secretly tracking you but here are a few tips that will help enhance the privacy capabilities of that Samsung (or other Android device) making them a little safer than they are out-of-the-box.

In terms of access security, facial recognition has already just about surpassed fingerprint as the gold mark security standard for new mobile phones but don’t be surprised if that is replaced. Your DNA-unique sweat may be an even better security gate for your handheld device.

Best jobs in IT

While subjective because it is all to do with what you want out of your career, it might be worth keeping an eye on what jobs are currently in hot demand.

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see that the world is changing. A fourth industrial revolution of sorts is well underway which begs the question; “is Australia well-placed to take advantage of the boom?

According to one blogger, new graduates and those early in their careers as IT professionals could do a lot worse than getting into mainframe code cutting. Sounds like the good old days, doesn’t it? However, it would appear that millennial main-framers is an unfortunate oxymoron.